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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  October 19, 2017 1:00am-2:00am PDT

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syria. this is where we end up. thank you both. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. tonight the president digs deeper into a political crisis of his own making, defiantly refuting the word of a gold star family as the discomfort of a grim public spectsical now spreads. plus jeff sessions now under scrutiny again on capitol hill. taking questions this time on the firing of james comey and all things russia. and late news tonight on the chancef war with north korea and russia's involvement in our presidential election. all of it as "the 11th hour" gets under way on wednesday night. and good evening, once again from our nbc headquarters here in new york. day 272 of the trump administration, and we begin tonight with a story that wasn't
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a story until donald trump made it one. it's actually more than that by now. it's deeply disturbing to most folks because it involves something all folks regard as sacred, the loss of our men and women in uniform and the gold star family members they leave behind. first the president compared his handling of gold star families to his predecessors and made false claims by doing so about president obama. then last night came the story of the condolence telephone call he made to the widow of u.s. army sergeant la david johnson who was killed in an ambush in niger in africa earlier this month. johnson's widow, mieshia, is 24. they have two young children. she is expecting in three months. and about that telephone call, it was playsed two weeks after this ambush killed four u.s. service members and wounded two others. former democratic congresswoman fred rico wilson was in the car with the family. this is what she says happened.
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>> he said well, i guess he knew -- something to the fact he knew what he was getting into when he signed up, but i guess it hurts anyway. you know, just matter of factually that this is what happens. anyone who is signing up for military duty is signing up to die. she was in tears, and she said he didn't even remember his name. >> that comment today got a straight up denial from the president and a vague threat that he has evidence to the contrary. >> mr. president, what did you to the sergeant's widow. >> i did not say that. she had a conversation with the wife that sounded like a lovely woman, did not say what the congresswoman said, and most people aren't too surprised to hear that.
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let her make her statement again and you'll find out. >> well, congresswoman wilson did ree peat her statement. she said quote, i still stand behind my account. if the president has proof of the contrary he didn't offer it today. and the woman who raised la david johnson was also in the car and heard the call today she's saying it's all true, telling "the washington post," quote, president trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband. with that let's bring off our lead off panel tonight making a rare visit to our new york studio starting with philip rucker and kimberley atkins, the chief washington reporter for the boston herald. out in wisconsin where he is best put to work is our friend charlie psyches, long time conservative radio host. these days on author and always
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an msnbc contributor. 12 days of silence, and that's the first puzzle. after these four souls, four of our very best were killed, why nothing from the white house? the pentagon did react. but back to the headline, 12 days of silence, then a swipe at obama, how trump handled four dead soldiers. i want you to talk about this and beyond how "the post" reported out about other gold star families. >> he was actually asked why he hadn't commented for 12 straight days on this incident. it's the deadliest combat incident since he became president. and that's when he became defensive and started to bring up this contrast with obama. and i'll tell you a little bit about what "the post" was reporting today. there was a family killed in
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june, and trump called the father and offered $25,000 a personal check to help the family. they said they never received that money. tonight the white house reported that check is in the mail. i think this reporting brought something to fruition. there are about 20 of them, interviewed 1, and only half of them have received phone calls from the president. remember the president said on monday he called all of these family members. >> kimberley, this is getting litigated and relitigated on shows like this one like this one tonight is all on the white house. >> it is. the initial question he was asked as phil said is why hadn't he commented about this mission? he himself brought up these
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families, these gold star families and the way he contacts them, you know, as if it was some sort of contest the previous presidents in the way he did it. that's what stroke a sour note from the beginning. we know the president is counter puncher. and we saw him counter punching congresswoman wilson today. it's one thing to counter punch if you want to even gin up his base. but to use these gold star families, that video was just so heart breaking. how you can keep that going after seeing that, there's no political goal here. there's no win, and we know he likes to get wins. >> charlie sykes, i want to play a clip of a mutual friend of ours, jack jacobs. he was on msnbc this afternoon and was asked about all of it.
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>> to reduce the exchange between the president of the united states and the widow of a slain warrior to a public spat is not only the height of inepiitude like i said, it speaks to an ignorance that's extremely difficult to find anywhere else in public life. >> charlie, that's tough to watch especially for us who know jack. this entire subject made people feel angry, sad, vaguely ill especially today across this country. >> no, the whole story is tragic. and it's of course totally self-inflicted. george will earlier on this air said just remember donald trump is barely on speaking terms with the english language. but what i do think is very clear that donald trump does not speak the language of empathy. and we were in that car. we didn't hear the conversation.
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i by the way, i do think the initial account should have been treated with perhaps some skepticism. but here you have the intersection of this accountability and predictability gap. it's incomprehensible except in trump urld for him then to be asked about it and then make false statements about the way other presidents had in fact handled this. and it's really unconsciousable that he then politicized the death of general kelly's son, something general kelly has gone out of his way to keep out of politics, a very deeply, private event. so take all of that of his tone-deaf conversation with this widow, and you have a really revealing and sad moment for the president but also for the country and the men and women who serve this country.
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>> yeah, this is one of the few things we have traditionally and should hold sacred. philip, charlie just talked about general kelly. that was kind of the second movement in this. it came up at the white house briefing today. this is an exchange between our own peter alexander and sarah huckabee-sanders. >> can you describe how general kelly feels about it. >> i think general kelly is disgusted by the way this has become politicized, and the focus has become on the process and not the way american lives were lost. if he has any anger, it's towards that. >> i guess it's the fault of the media given that reading. >> and yes it's the president that brought up general kelly's son. it's been six or seven years since his son died in the line of duty. general kelly is a gold star parent. he doesn't want any special
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attention paid, and he doesn't want this to be politicized. and he's made that clear in his public remarks and in the speech that he gave a few years ago. and so for the president to invoke this as a defense in a political tit for tat with president obama, you know, kelly hasn't spoken for himself, but i can't imagine it sits very well with the general. >> kimberley, this isn't the first time the president has failed to let something like a military uniform or military standing or heroism in the military stand between him and a good bout with someone. >> this is true. this goes back to the campaign he openly feuded with -- gold star parents he openly feuded with during the campaign. and perhaps he feels a sense of invisibility from that. obviously that didn't keep him from being elected president. but i just -- i think this is one of the latest episodes where the point that charlie made
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about empathy, that was the main point about his trips for example to puerto rico. when he's tossing toilet paper. he sees a crowd in the room cheering and he thinks he's doing a good job when he's not talking about dozens of people who lost their lives, the people who lost their homes. that's the disconnect there, and it doesn't seem to register with him. and i think when we're dealing with issues involving grief, devastation, some ort of loss, that's where his achilles' heel is. >> charlie, you wrote a book about the deepening cleave in american palltication. but there you are thank goodness in america. and i have to ask you how is this issue going to fall? do we agree on any one thing anymore? and why can't that one thing be the treatment and sacrifice of gold star families? >> if there is one thing that we still believe in, this would be it. if there's a ven diagram between the left and the right, this would be the over lap.
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i think the real scandal here is once again donald trump has taken something that ought to uite us, that we ought to have similar reactions to and what has he done? he's made it about himself. he's made this whole thing about himself and how he handled it opposed to the focus of those men and their mission and what they did and the needs of the family. i i think we've become accustomed to that, but i don't think we should become numb to that. >> philip rucker, you know what we in the media are like. you also know about the president's power to end this like that. probably with a tweet, even better with a statement. we'll move onto the next thing. but that doesn't happen here either, why? >> it doesn't. and in part it's because of the president's instinct to always want to punch back when he feels like he's on the defensive or under siege like he did this week, he wants to win -- >> as you stated the 12 days of
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silence. >> he mocked john mccain, vietnam prisoner of war, we saw him with this attitude the second day of president, and stood before that wall of where the 50 stars of of the members who died and made it all about himself with his inaugural crowds and his focus with the media. i don't think he fully comphands the magnitude of what he's doing. >> kimberley, to question i always end up asking you, what part of the trump agenda advanced today in the white house and dapt? >> not much. it seemed to go the other way. we're talking about this and at the same time the topic of bipartisan health care reform seemed to fall, the fix to make health care reform affordable for millions of americans sort of died at the urging of
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president trump who put that down. so we're at another legislative standstill while we are, you know, unfortunately doing political analysis about how gold star families should be treated. >> our thanks tonight to philip rucker, to kimberley atkins for joining us here in new york and to charlie sykes. his new book, by the way, is "how the right lost its mind." we're so fortunate charley ae did not amid all of this. >> still ahead tonight we'll go to our first break. attorney general jeff sessions on capitol hill under oath. and today surprising answers from a trump stalwart. that and much more. we're just getting started on the wednesday edition of "the 11th hour."
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have you been interviewed or been requested to be interviewed by the special counsel either in connection with director comey's firing, the russian investigation, or contact with russian officials? >> well, i'd be pleased to answer that. i'm not sure i -- without clearing that with the special counsel. >> what do you think? have you been interviewed by them? >> no. >> let's call that a coy moment today. jeff sessions testifying before the senate judiciary committee today. he did not answer many questions especially about the firing of
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the fbi director james comey citing confidentiality in his conversations with the president. but he did offer this answer. >> specifically, what was your designated role in the decision to fire director comey? >> it is -- it's a matter that i can share some information about because the president himself has talked about it and revealed that letter. he asked deputy rosenstein and i make our recommendations in writing. we prepared those recommendations and submitted it to the president. senator feinstein, i don't think it's been fully understood the significance on the error that mr. comey made on the clinton matter. >> critical answer there. more on that in just a moment.
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here's the quote. as it has turned out, james comey lied and leaked and totally protected hillary clinton. he was the best thing that ever happened to her. joining us tonight from washington, michael crowley national security editor at politico and ken vogel, "the new york times" political reporter. two of the very best minds on this story. michael, back to that second bit of sound from ag sessions. that excuse for firing comey has long been super seeded when the boss told lester holt it was because of russia. >> yeah, overtaken by events i guess as people say. and even the original excuse, brian, didn't make a lot of sense. i think there were people, you know, who were willing to believe, okay, if trump came in
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on day one and said, comey, i hated the way you landled that thing a lot of people said and even some democrats said the way you handled the investigations was wrong and you're out of here. but it does it when he realizes how much jeopardy he's in. and that was incredibly strange and now for trump really foolish thing to have done. but you put your finger right on, which is compounding all this is the fact that sessions does not seem to have the most updated version of events in his testimony. and it's a little hard to complain that except to say that the truth of what the president has really said is very uncomfortable for him to relate. and he probably would prefer to believe it's not the case i suppose. >> so ken, two part question for you. did you find that surprising that the ag is running on perhaps dated software and what
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was -- if not that, what was your nugget from today, your take away? >> well, certainly that was a bit puzzling that he was essentially asked to, you know, write this recommendation, to give trump cover for something trump wanted to do anyway. trump then admitted he wanted to do it anyway and that the recommendation was just cover. so they're having trouble getting their story straight here. but this does, this sort of discordance does get that the discomfort within the white house about this key issue, the firing of james comey which in many ways at the center or at least one part of the mueller investigation and that is whether trump himself or this administration sought to obstruct justice in the investigation by getting rid of james comey. of course trump blames jeff sessions for the appointment of robert mueller as special counselch he thinks if sessions hadn't recused himself he wouldn't be in this trouble because he wouldn't have mueller breathing down his neck. i think this question of
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executive privilege is interesting, which we heard jeff sessions sort of point to without invoking several times. this is going to be key in the sort of tactics of the trump white house's defense, whether and when they seek to invoke executive privilege and answering questions from mueller. we know at least in a conversation i overheard, there's some disagreement in the trump legal team about what extent they should be relying on executive privilege. but certainly jeff sessions in his testimony today did nothing to disabuse us of the perception this would be potentially an important part of the trump team's defense. >> all those matters mr. vogel just mentioned is precisely why we have a water crack lawyer in our next segment. michael, i don't mean this to sound sarcastic, but it's been 47 days. think of what we have been through.
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47 days since the last trump tweet on comey. why now? why today i wonder. >> well, because comey's firing is front and center again with jeff sessions testifying. and the key -- one of the key issues that these senators were asking the attorney general about was the circumstances around comey's firing. and so, you know, trump as we know is watching television, and comey is back again. and he's on the president's mind. and so now now trump is reverting -- i mean trump as well is reverting to this hillary clinton context for the comey firing. it would seem to be the implication of that tweet and not the interview with lester holt you referenced earlier. so that's another zigzag. but, you know, it's -- it's striking to me ken mentioned the executive privilege issue.
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and i do think that is an interesting moment. because there's a school of thought in the trump team that says you want to show as much cooperation as possible with the investigation. you want to get this over with as fast as you can and signal that you have nothing to hide among other things. at least the line coming from the trump camp of course is he has nothing to hide, he hasn't done anything wrong. these indications of executive privilege clearly do suggest to many observes there are hiding something. i saw the aclu tweeted today, echoes of watergate. and the more that trump officials take this line, the more there's going to be suspicion. and by the way, i don't think the trump team has earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to these matters because their stories have changed repeatedly. so i think there's a warranted suspicion when sessions takes attack like that. >> ken, i call on you again as an explainer.
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what's the difference between or the concert between a hearing like the one we saw today, the concurrent hearings going on on the house side and something like the mueller, what seems to be the overarching mueller investigation? >> well, the hearing today was technically an oversight here hearing. it has oversight with sessions the attorney general is head of. so conceivably they could be asking about anything. they did ask about other subjects including the enforcement or the protection -- democrats asked about protection for the glbt communicate and whether sessions was doing anything to sort of dial back the protections and drug enforcement, opioid crisis. we heard a number of questions about that as well. then you have the senate judiciary committee at the same
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time being one of several committees that's investigating various aspects of the trump team's relationships with russia and, you know, they in particular are looking at the foreign agents registration act and whether there are any violations there with paul manafort, mike flynn. those investigations as well as the house and senate intelligence committee investigations, they overlap certainly to some extent with mueller. the difference between is mueller has the real power. >> this is why i introduced you as two of the best minds on this story. gentlemen, our ever lasting thanks. up next what jeff session' testimony today could mean for the president here again legally along with the mueller investigation. that discussion when "the 11th hour" continues.
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attorney general jeff sessions appeared for five hours in front of the senate judiciary committee today. all the while robert mueller and his team continued their investigation of their own. also on capitol hill today nbc news confirms senate intelligence committee staffers had interviewed former campaign manager lewandowski on the russia investigation. with us now jil winebanks, former assistant watergate counsel and legal analyst. and ken delainian, nbc news
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intelligence and national security reporter. so ken, you'll get the first one tonight. what was your take away from all of the sessions' testimony including some of the nonanswers? >> well, brian, i was first struck with jeff sessions' story seems to have evolved once again whether or not he had any substantive conversations with sergey kislyak. he then changed the story to yes, i did have contacts but we didn't have any substantive discussions about the campaign. today he seemed to open the door. he said he couldn't recall, couldn't rule out he had some discussions about foreign policy issues, which the senator pointed out can be campaign issues. the other thing that struck me is that jeff sessions was simply unwilling to talk about his discussions with the president. and he wouldn't answer the
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question about whether president trump told him that he fired fbi director james comey in order to get rid of the russia investigation. now, i understand, you know, that he is trying to reserve the right to assert executive privilege. but it seems to me he could have found a way to communicate to congress in some fashion that president trump didn't make that inappropriate request or statement in his presence and he wasn't able to do that today, brian. >> ken, in plain english it was just so weird. he was a talking point behind. you remember when the story came out we were running around comey just got fired, and when we looked at the statement the why seemed to be he was mean to hillary clinton. >> yeah, and very few people believed that at the time, brian. and it quickly became inoperable when he told lester holt, as you said before, that russia was on his mind when he fired him. people don't understand how bad comey blew the hillary clinton thing. but donald trump with his tweet
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this morning eviscerated that argument again that he thought comey was protecting hillary clinton. so if mueller was looking at whether donald trump put up a bogus story about the comey firing, donald trump didn't help himself with that tweet today. >> okay, counselor, all these claims for confidentially of his conversations with the president of the united states made by the attorney general, can he do that? and can he be compelled all the times he decided to take the pitch and step out of the batters box, can he be compelled to answer in some other form? >> well, first of all let me say i agreed completely with what ken said on all of your questions on the first part. and yes, he can be compelled. but the question is will he? and the answer to that is probably not because the republicans control the committee. and they are not likely to try
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to force him. he cannot sort of pretend to be claiming executive privilege. only the president can do that. and the president has not done that. and as you pointed out, that would make him look guilty. so he doesn't want to do that. and sessions is just sort of pretending like, well, i have to protect my rights and not answer the questions, and that's wrong. that is just wrong. and if they were discussing anything that was criminal, which would include a false reason for firing comey, then he can't do it. that would be invalid. >> ken delainian, if you're mueller, if you're either one of the hill committees, what does a conversation with cory lieu wn dousky get you? remind us all the way that spreads out in fragments over all these stories that have become central to the russia issue? >> right, brian. cory was the campaign manager fired in june. but he's maintained a relationship with the trump
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organization, and he's opened a rather successful lobbying operation in washington based on his access to donald trump and his people. so he knows a lot. now, we don't know exactly what they were talking about. we don't know why robert mueller might be interested in him. and to me that under scores we think we know quite bit about these investigations because we're constantly hearing about witnesses and documents. but there's so much we don't know. there's so much robert mueller is amassing we have no idea about. there's going to come a day when it's going to be revealed, and it's going to be a fascinating day. >> jill, what do you make on all the available tea leaves on the mueller investigation? i was stunned we learned allegedly topics and questions during their questioning with saen spicer. i always ask you knowing what we know, where do you think we are? >> i think we're proceeding at a good clip.
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everyone keeps asking why is it taking so long and and i keep pointing out it's only been five months since mueller's been appointed. and it takes a long time to develop a case. as you just said we don't know everything mueller knows, we don't know what angles he's pursuing because witness a just said something he wants to confirm with lewandowski or saen spicer. and we just have to be patient to find out how all the pieces fit together in this puzmal squch because you really need a strong case if you're going to proceed against the president. and you don't want to leave any piece out of place. >> point of personal privilege i want to shoi our audience how kg, a lawyer jill winebanks is beneath her unassuming gold pin tonight is a flagrant effort to campaign for the chicago cubs. we do not allow election earring on this broadcast. i'll allow it this time, but
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you've been found out about. our thanks. another break in our broadcast. coming up former cia director john brennen with a stark new warning on north korea and what the rest of the world sees in his eyes when they watch donald trump. >> i think people wonder whether or not, you know, he's truly being mock vellian on some of these issues or he's truly being reckless. hi, i'm the internet! you know what's difficult? adulting...
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tj! get a job! hi, guys. i'm back. time to slay! heals, heals, heals! yes! youuuu! no, i have a long time girlfriend. mom! i need my macaroni!!! you know what's easy? building your website with godaddy. pick a domain name. choose a design. you can build a website in under an hour. yeah! whoo! yes! get your domain today and get a free trial of gocentral. build a better website in under an hour. for the first time former cia director john brennen takes on president trump's foreign policy, saying many in the world wonder if our president is reckless. he spoke at fordham university here in new york tonight. and he talked about north korea, isis, talked about the russia investigation.
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our own andrea mitchell was there and at one point took part in the questioning as one of the headlines in this event is contained in the answer brennen gave her. >> is it your theory of the case that there was some connection between the campaign and the russian operation? >> well, obviously that's a hypothetical. and the russians are very sophisticated observers of the american political scene. we have been their principle adversary and nemesis for many, many years. i think many things are possible when it comes to how russia was able to take advantage of the u.s. environment to pursue this campaign of interference in the election, and i still don't know the extent of it. i still don't know how successful they were in maybe getting people to work with them. i know that that is part of
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their -- their mo. were they successful in maybe cultivating those relationships with some? it's hard for me to believe that the russians as good as they are, are sophisticated as they are, programmed like this, were not able to get some americans to cooperate with them either wittingly or unwittingly. i find it implausible. >> here with us in new york our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell, who also happens to be the correspondent of andrea mitchell reports. full disclosure she was on the campus tonight. we get a message from andrea saying clear the airway tonight because this is notable. tell us about that answer. >> well, he's saying it's implausible to think that there weren't americans helping the russians -- >> a savvy campaign. >> exactly. as well as the russians have studied us, and we are the main thing they study. for them to get into these districts and figure out how to
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divide our country, how to divide our people. and he talked about how it has divided our country. and its hurt us domestically and hurt us internationally. >> well, north korea was a subject. >> he said he's very concerned about the tweets, about hurling insults back and forth. for the first time kim jong-un after the u.n. president's speech went on camera -- not his father, no leader has ever gone on television and answered directly with the president of the united states. it's always the tv presenter or the propaganda lady in the pink dress. this is what he had to say, and it's very ominous. >> i think the conflicts for military conflicts on the korean peninsula are greater than they've ever been in several decades. i don't think it's likely or probable, but if it's a one-on-one or 1 in 4 chance, i
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think it's too high. >> is that where you'd rate the chances? >> yeah, yes i would. >> that voice was the experienced intelligence analyst. >> for our viewers watching this tonight, remind us in plain english, what's the book on brennen? what's his reputation and what was he known for in office? >> straight shooter. he was also asked about the military families. in 1980 he was station chief in saudi arabia. this man knows his stuff. and also was very offended by what the president did on day two of his presidency, going in front of the memorial wall and speaking of the intelligence community in such disparaging
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ways. that said, he said he had worked closely with bill clinton with george w. bush and with barack obama, that they viewed dealing with military grieving families, gold star families with the greatest reverence. and he was very deeply disturbed by what has trance pired. he said god bless mattis, kelly and joe dunford for being there and for being governors, monitoring the president of the united states. he's very, very concerned. >> i always thought brennen -- and i mean this as a compliment -- had the bearing of a new york city police captain. >> it's no accident he's back here. and just briefly, mueller has not requested him to be interviewed. it was brennen's cia that first referred this whole case in july of 2016 to the fbi. and the fbi, the best in the business have been following the money ever since. but the frustrated members and democrats at least on the
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intelligence committees are really hitting a brick wall on this thing. and they are hoping that they can -- that either mueller or somebody will come forward and get the goodies. >> thanks for calling into headquarters tonight. as always good to see you. >> thank you. another break for us. coming up more on these gold star parents we've been talking about. they lost their son, this pair did back in may. they are what this entire discussion is all about. we will hear from two powerful and profound parents when we come back.
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today the associated press took the rare took the rare step of going on twitter, turning to social media and asking for the confidential stories of gold star families in this country. specifically, any contact they
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may have had with the white house. and then, just today, a.p. wrote this. quote, like presidents before him, trump has made personal contact with some families of the fallen, not all. what's different is that trump, alone manage them, has picked a political fight over who's done better to honor the war dead and their families. close quote. may you never become a gold star family. but fair warning, we're going to show you what it's like. and this is hard to watch. u.s. army specialist, etienne murphy died in syria back in may. tonight, his gold star parents, sheila and calvin murphy, appeared with ari melber to talk about their son and their loss. >> my son was a good boy. he liked to laugh. he loved his country. he loved his wife and his two boys.
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he wanted to do more for his country. he volunteered to become a ranger, which he did. one of the army's elite. and it was just his goal to go and fight, against evil for this world, for this country and for his family. a letter or a call, really, isn't going to change how i feel. but i just think that whenever anyone is discussing things that have to do with people who are grieving, they should maybe think about what they're saying because you don't know how it's going to affect that person or those persons. and what i really want to say, i decent want this to be some back and forth banter about whether or not someone did a better job. it's about my son, etienne. specialist etienne murphy. he loved doing what he did. and now, this is the aftermath.
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this is what happens when people -- our young people go over there to fight for a country that they love so much. we're the aftermath. we're the casualties of war. my daughter-in-law, my grandchildren, my son, they're the casualties of war. young people, those soldiers that come back with ptsd, they're the casualties of war. it's not about whether or not a person may have called or did something more than the previous one. it's about what are you doing now to help those who are left behind? who have to struggle day-to-day. i dread the sunrise. and i welcome the sunset because i'm hoping that, as the sun sets, maybe i don't have to deal with another sunrise. because my pain is just so great. >> it is. >> so, if that letter or that phone call could bring my son back, i would run from here on foot to washington, d.c. to get
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that letter. but right now, it really doesn't matter who did the greatest thing. what matters right now, is that people remember my child. specialist m.t.m. murphy. and all those that are gone and those at this moment fighting for us. put the spotlight on them. and not on anything that has to do with whether or not someone did something or not. it doesn't matter to me. i just want my child back. >> he is their commander in chief. he's their commander in chief. and every life matters. >> it all does. >> yeah. i mean, he's the one who ultimately has to make the decision for them to go. so, i mean, he should care about each soldier. and every family. >> gold star parents.
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we're back with more right after this.
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last thing, before we go here tonight. it's now been one month since puerto rico was demolished by a category 4 hurricane. a once in a century event. and now, a month later, life remains a struggle for too many of the 3 million-plus tax paying u.s. citizens who live there. the white house just today said they're doing everything they can for puerto rico. but a whole lot of people wonder how that can be possible. there were way more u.s. troops in haiti, a foreign country, after the earthquake there. way more troops and hardware in new orleans after katrina. but there are too many puerto ricans in the dark tonight and every night, setting out on foot for snchles, trying to fix their own roads and bridges by hand. waiting and hoping that one of the helicopters overhead might be the one that brings them
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relief supplies. wondering if today is that day when their lives start to get better. put it this way. think of the federal effort that would be launched if 1 million american citizens here on the mainland were suddenly without fresh drinking water. and yet, that's the case in puerto rico. one reporter today said, much of the island looks like the storm was yesterday and not a month ago. a disaster specialist here in new york, john mudder of columbia university, said, quote, in puerto rico, it doesn't look like we've learned anything at all, or we just don't care. here's to those who are there, military and civilian, especially those who paid their own way to go there and volunteer and help. they are doing the hard work. thank goodness that resourcefulness and resilience have always been attributes of the people of puerto rico. that is our broadcast for this wednesday night. thank you so very much for being here with us. good night, from nbc news headquarters here in new york.
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this morning, controversy over condolence call. president disputing a congress woman's account of the phone call made to the soldier. comes as lawmakers ask for answer about what happened there. whiplash. president trump sending mix signals over the bipartisan plan to save health care. killing people and wounding others in a shooting spree. extensive criminal background. good

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